All publicly recognised characters are the property of Stephanie Meyer, I've just fiddled about with them a little bit. All songs referenced are the property of the original songwriters. I own none of it, however I do own a rather extensive DVD collection and a half-finished packet of Cadbury Chocolate Fingers.
A/N - So after receiving such amazing feedback from people who read my one-shot, I decided to take the plunge and expand it into a proper story. I've broken down the original piece into 2 chapters and made a few tweaks, added a bit more where I think there was missing info/dialogue. Hopefully you'll be pleased with what I've done/am doing.
Big thanks to my fab beta momma2fan for turning the first 2 chapters around so quickly.
I've just seen a face,
I can't forget the time or place
Where we, just met.
I've Just Seen a Face by The Beatles
I'm not quite sure how I managed to get roped into this night out with Angela, Jessica, and Lauren, it's not as if I'm overly friendly with many of my colleagues, there's only really Angela that I have anything in common with or consider myself to be that close to. I've been working at Hunter Publishing for the last six months, as an editor's assistant and I love it, but then I've always been a bit of a bookworm and to be surrounded by the written word is my idea of heaven (well apart from a carton of Baskin Robbins' Hokey Pokey after a particularly stressful day at work – but hey, I'm a girl…..sue me!).
I was due to meet them at eight, at a bar called Eclipse and looking at my watch I was late (thanks to a deadline that my boss was trying to meet which meant I'd had to stay back at the office – but seeing as I enjoy my job it wasn't really a chore). I texted Angela to let her know I would be there soon, and stopped to check myself in the mirror before I left my apartment. Tonight was likely to be a major fashion-fest for Jessica and Lauren who were both secretaries at work and dressed to impress at the office, so I couldn't imagine tonight being any different. Looking at my reflection, I didn't look too bad for a night in a bar given that I'm not one for doing the whole glam thing. I'm nowhere near sexy enough to pull it off, but the outfit I'd pulled together didn't look too bad – black skinny jeans, a midnight blue fine knit off the shoulder sweater with a thin strapped tank top underneath and my favourite shoes, a pair of patent black Mary Janes. I'd finished the outfit off with a chunky silver necklace and some simple hoop earrings, leaving hair down as it was far less effort. For me this was a good look, I just hoped that I didn't break my neck in these shoes. My last name might be Swan but, graceful is one of the last words people would use to describe me.
Satisfied that I wouldn't be too much of a visual embarrassment, I grabbed my keys, lip gloss and purse and headed out of the door ready to face whatever the night would throw at me. I was pretty sure that we would spend the evening listening to Jessica and Lauren critiquing everyone woman in the bar, ogling every attractive man there was and making sure that Angela and I were fully up to date on current office gossip – joy!
To say I got roped into going out tonight didn't actually mean I wasn't glad I was going out. In actual fact, tonight might be just what I needed to blot out the latest round of harassment from the owner's lazy ass son James. Honestly, he walks round the office like he's the one in charge, but doesn't appear to actually do any work. It's become a daily occurrence recently where he will find some lame excuse to talk to me and each time he'll make suggestive comments about my appearance or push me to go on a date with him. I always politely decline, not least because I don't find him attractive, but more importantly he just creeps me out. The problem is, I can't exactly complain to Human Resources about it, after all, he is the owner's son and I doubt they would believe my word against his, and I don't want to resign because it took me too long after graduating to secure this job, and I would struggle to find another role like this with my lack of experience.
I'm snapped out of my musings on 'James the Sleaze', as I've affectionately nicknamed him, by my cell phone alerting me to a text. It's from Angela letting me know that Jessica had gotten us priority entry to the bar as there was a band playing tonight. That's a bit of a result, it means I don't have to queue to get in which will save my poor feet in these shoes, so I head for the security guy at the front of the line and give him my name to check off on his clipboard, it's time to bring on the alcohol!
This wasn't exactly how I planned to spend my Friday night, especially since I'd been in the office since six this morning and was totally wiped, but what can you do when your older brother calls you up and begs you to work his bar because one of his staff decided to run off to Vegas and marry his girlfriend? So being the good sibling that I am, I agreed and told him I'd be there as soon as I had cleaned myself up and grabbed a bite to eat. Things at work were pretty full on, and my case load just seemed to be growing by the day which was leaving me exhausted, but I guess that serves me right for going into corporate law, the never ending pile of contracts. It felt good to wash the grime of the office away and the hot water helped to ease the tension in my shoulders that I was feeling and by the time I stepped out of the shower I felt energised enough to survive helping Emett out at Eclipse tonight. After towelling myself dry I walked over to my closet, pulled out a pair of dark blue jeans and a tight black t-shirt, it was a simple look but it meant that I could showcase the ink on my arms.
You see I'm a bit of a walking contradiction, by day I'm a lawyer in starched shirts and designer suits, but the moment I'm out of that office door, the real me comes to the surface via my tattoos and my music. Personally I blame my love of body art on my other brother Jasper seeing as he has created each of the five masterpieces on my body, and my control freak nature wouldn't have it any other way. Jasper studied fine art at college, but after a drunken night out with his roomies he had our family crest on his shoulder and he was hooked. Upon graduation he decided that a career in a gallery was not for him, so he trained to be a tattoo artist with the guy who inked him then used part of his trust fund to open Cullen Ink in our home town of Seattle (a nice little nod to the business world he was so keen to avoid). That's the other thing about us Cullen boys, we're trust fund babies, but you'd never know it if you compared us to the children of other people in our social circle, in fact if we'd had any other parents I suspect we'd have been disinherited! Luckily for us Carlisle and Esme Cullen are firm believers in letting their children forge their own path, and would not place any expectations on us in terms of what we wanted to do with our lives. As long as we were happy, healthy, behaved like gentlemen (Mom's stipulation) and didn't break the law (that one was all Dad) then they considered their parental duties fulfilled. However, I appear to have gotten off topic.
Since Jasper had opened up shop I'd gotten our family crest on my right bicep, a Celtic cross on my left bicep to acknowledge my Irish heritage, I had some of the music score for Hallelujah running down the right side of my ribcage because of my love of music (Jeff Buckley's version always resonated with me as a teenager so it seemed fitting), over my heart I had 'Dum Spiro Spero' which was Latin for 'while I breathe, I hope' and the fifth one…well, that's really personal and was only finished a week ago and hurt like a motherfucker due to the size of it.
I looked at the clock and realised that the bar would be open already so I needed to get a move on otherwise Emett would chew my ass out for being late. Grabbing a slice of cold pizza from the fridge (did you really think that I had the time or the inclination to cook?) I snatched my keys and wallet up from the countertop and stuffed them in my pockets. I figured my combat boots would do for spending a night behind the bar, so I pulled them on and picked up my favourite hoody from the coat rack and bolted out of the door thinking that it was really fortunate that Em's bar was only a couple of blocks away from my apartment so I'd be there before things got too crazy.
This wasn't the first time I'd helped out at Eclipse, and I doubted it would be the last, especially if Em's plans for expansion were anything to go by – he'd be the Donald Trump of the bar world in the next decade and I didn't doubt one bit that he'd achieve it. The only drawback to doing this kind of favour for him was that I had to deal with the women that came into the bar looking for a hook up with one of the eligible guys who tended to frequent the place. I just prayed that Tanya wouldn't be there tonight, cause that girl didn't seem to understand the meaning of the word 'no', and with that thought pushed firmly to the side I arrived at Eclipse. I gave Jake, who was working the door tonight a quick nod and bolted inside, ready for whatever the night or the customers would throw at me.
Walking through the door of the bar, I scanned the room for the girls and spotted they had grabbed a booth, and judging by the number of empty glasses on the table, I had some catching up to do. Rather than make extra work for myself, I gave them a quick wave hello and pointed to the bar where I was heading to get myself a drink. Things were starting to get busy and the waiting staff were yelling orders at the bartenders so I stood at the bar patiently, not really making eye contact with anyone, because all I really wanted to do was get my drink and join my party, instead I just scanned around taking in the sight of the bar filling up.
From behind the dark wooden counter in front of me a throat cleared loudly, so I looked up and opened my mouth to order my drink but found myself speechless. In front of me was quite possibly the most beautiful specimen of man I had ever seen. I kid you not, this guy was stunning from his perfectly sculpted cheekbones, well defined jaw with a hint of stubble, sparkling green eyes framed by thick long lashes and the most pouty lips that quirked up in a half smile, half smirk. His hair was….don't even get me started on the hair, it was all sorts of crazy brown with hints of copper and red, sticking out at crazy angles that looked made him look like he'd been freshly fucked, but had probably been styled that way by design. As my mouth continued to flap while I tried to recover the power of speech, my eyes trailed over what else of him I could see and believe me it did not disappoint, he had a wonderfully broad chest and shoulders wrapped in a tight black t-shirt and then I spotted his arms…oh God he had tattoos – YUM!
I think I might have just drooled a little.
"Can I get you anything sweetheart?" He asked with a voice that was a wonderful combination of smooth silk and just a hint of gruffness.
"I, umm….." I spluttered out, and I swear he smirked at me. "B...bottle of Corona please," I finally managed to spit out with a weak smile, while thinking how pathetic it was that I couldn't even order a drink from this guy.
He placed the bottle on the bar with a wink as I handed over the money to pay and I blushed furiously as his hand touched mine to give me my change, he just winked at me and went on to serve the next customer. Walking over to join the girls at our table, I smiled to myself because what girl wouldn't be happy that a hot guy winked at them, even if they were just being polite to a paying customer (oh god that sounded seven shades of wrong Bella!).
"Hi Bella, you made it," greeted Angela with a warm smile.
"We thought we'd order pitchers of cocktails for the night so we don't have to go to the bar as much while the band plays, but I see you're too good for joining in with the rest of us" snarked Lauren as she gave my beer the stink eye.
I don't understand why she has to be such a bitch about the littlest of things, or make assumptions about people she doesn't really know, because I was more than down for sharing some cocktails with them to wash away the aches of today.
"Cocktails sound good Lauren, I just had a killer of a day and wanted something cool to quench my thirst and get me started. Sorry I'm late by the way, but you know what deadlines can be like," I replied, knowing full well that Lauren wouldn't know what a deadline was if it jumped up and bit her in the ass. If I'm brutally honest, I don't have anything in common with her. She's lazy at work, and she can be a grade A bitch, but she's friends with Jess, and while Jess can be a gossip and a bit of an elitist snob in the office, she can also be quite sweet and is really helpful in the office.
I squeezed into the booth next to Angela and said a quick hi to Jess who smiled at me awkwardly, obviously uncomfortable due to Lauren's unnecessary comments.
"So what time does the band start playing?" I asked our group.
"They're due on stage in about half an hour," replied Jess with a wide grin and a slight giggle.
"Any particular reason you're so keen to see this band Jess?" asked Angela with a raised eyebrow. There was something going on that I obviously didn't know about.
"Yeah, the bass player in the band is that geek from accounts…Mark?" snipped Lauren with a look of disgust.
Jess just blushed furiously and mumbled "His name is Mike…and he's not a geek" before looking down at the table intently.
I turned to look at Angela with wide eyes but she just gave me a knowing smile and leaned in to whisper "Jess kind of has the hots for Mike, but he's either totally oblivious or not interested. From what I can tell, it's the first one, the guy is totally clueless so she may just need to drape herself naked across his desk and play with his calculator to get his attention!" Why couldn't she have said that after I'd finished taking a drink from my bottle, cause I just about sprayed beer out of my nose I was laughing so hard.
"Besides…" Lauren chipped in, "Who would want a hamburger, when there's a prime piece of rump steak at the bar looking our way?"
We all turned our heads in the direction of the bar at the same time to see the fuck-hot barman who served me staring at our table intently with what can only be described as the sexiest smirk I have ever seen. Instantly my cheeks started to flush, while Angela let out a low whistle, Jess just gaped at him but Lauren was the first to break the spell by speaking.
"Well obviously he's checking me out, he's been staring at me for the last half hour, and why wouldn't he?" she asked around the table as if she was queen bee and we were just her drones. Actually, come to think about it, that's probably exactly how she viewed herself given that she dressed like she was on the cover of a magazine all the time, her make-up was always immaculate, and I swear she's had a boob job because nobody has tits that big and perky when you're a size four without a little assistance.
By the time she'd finished her little put down, Mr Fuck-Hot as I had mentally christened him, had moved to serve another customer and we resumed our chatting while we waited for the band to get on stage.
She was absolutely gorgeous, no two ways about it. Stunning mahogany brown hair that hung past her shoulders in waves, eyes like pools of molten chocolate, plump lips with a hint of gloss, although if she carried on chewing her bottom lip like that they'd be blood red from her piercing the skin. Oh her skin was the most glorious creamy shade of ivory that made you want to just reach out and stroke it just to see if it felt as soft and silky as it looked. It was so damned cute when she stumbled over her words when I asked her what she wanted to drink, and when I handed back her change my fingertips brushed her hand and I swear I felt this tingle that went right through me like the buzz of electricity. It was really weird and I couldn't explain it, but I kind of liked it.
I've somehow over the years earned the reputation of being a bit of a player because I don't do girlfriends, much to Jazz and Em's amusement. It was never my intention, nor was it a label that I enjoyed. It's just that after I got my heart trampled on in college by she who shall not be named, I was reluctant to give my feelings away to another woman, and it kind of snowballed from there. Don't get me wrong, I didn't avoid women altogether, I'm a lawyer, not a monk after all. So on occasion I would charm my way into a ladies bed to scratch the itch for some much needed release, but it was those intermittent dalliances that meant I got a lot of attention from women who didn't like taking no for an answer. Honestly, some of their reactions were bordering on the absurd, and I couldn't figure out for the life of me why they all thought I was so special….was it the challenge of trying to hook me for more than a roll in the sheets, or was it that word had gotten around from the women I had been with that I was nothing less than a force to be reckoned with in the bedroom department? Sounds conceited I know, but I am damn good and I take pride in my skills, sue me! Just because I know what I'm doing, didn't mean that I slept with every woman that propositioned me, far from it, I still had standards and preferred to be selective which was why I hadn't slept with Tanya, she was a needy, trust fund baby looking for a husband who would keep her in the manner to which she felt she should be accustomed (read that as the manner that Daddy had spent twenty something years providing but was not going to continue till she was a spinster!). She'd hit on all three of us over the years, and was getting mighty frustrated that her options were running out now that Em had married Rose and Jazz was getting ready to propose to Alice. That left me, and she obviously thought I was ripe for the picking, well sorry lady, but this apple is staying firmly on the tree as far as you're concerned!
Anyway, I digress once again. The brunette beauty walked over to join her party, so I took the opportunity to check her out from the back, and sweet Jesus, it did not disappoint. Shapely legs encased in tight black denim leading up to a pert ass that I would give my right arm to squeeze…err make that my left arm, I'm right handed! On her feet she had what could only be described as 'fuck me shoes', they were shiny black high heels that would look amazing wrapped around my…whoa, hold the front page Cullen, you don't even know this chick and already you've got her naked apart from the shoes. Get a grip! She doesn't look like one night stand material so it would be a waste of time.
"Hey Fuckhead, are you gonna stare at women all night, or are you actually planning on doing some work for me?" Em whisper yelled from beside me.
"Alright you ass, just remember I'm doing you the favour. There are other things I could be doing on a Friday night after putting in a twelve hour day you know? And besides, it was just one woman dude," I shot back at him with a scowl.
"Fair enough bro, no need to get your panties in a bunch. Which little beauty are we talking about then?"
"The cute little brunette at the table by the juke box my man, she's the sweetest thing I've seen in my life, and she's wearing a killer pair of shoes too!" I replied knowing that Em understood my nuance for female footwear, not a fetish as such, but a kick ass pair on the right legs could bring me to my knees like a starving man begging for his next meal.
Em let out a low whistle, "Whew man, that girl is smoking! You gonna go for it?"
"Nah man, you know my stand on things. She doesn't look like a one-time deal kind of chick"
"Not in the slightest bro, but who says it only has to be a one night? Maybe she's woman enough to finally make your stone cold heart beat once again," he chuckled, so I threw a bar cloth at him and went back to serving customers.
I spent the next thirty minutes mulling over what my brother had said to me about the beautiful bar girl, which I'd shortened to BBG in my head, and stealing glances across the room at her. At one point the group of girls she was with all turned and looked at me so I made eye contact with BBG and smirked, to which she blushed furiously and turned away. One of the other girls in the group was still staring at me like I was something to eat and licking her lips suggestively, trust me lady, never gonna happen… prefer my women au natural if you get my drift.
Looking at the clock it was nearly nine so the band should be on stage shortly. This should be interesting as a guy we went to high school with plays bass for them. He works for Hunter Publishing these days, and while he's still as much of a geek as he was back in the day, he's also a pretty decent guy so I was looking forward to hearing them play.
"Any chance of getting some service around here?" A voice from my left sneered. I looked up to see half a dozen perfectly manicured guys wearing starched button down shirts immaculately ironed chinos and Timberland loafers…hell, could these trust fund boys be any more stereotypical? He looked me up and down with a look of severe disdain for how I was dressed
"Sure buddy, what can I get ya?" I answered with a smile.
"A round of Buds for me and my friends," he announced with an air of superiority. I just laughed to myself while I got their beers, because not only was their taste in beer nearly as bad as their wardrobe choices, but I also knew exactly who this ass was. Not only had I been forced to socialise with this idiot as a young child because his parents had been members of the same country club as ours, but my law firm had cleaned up his mess on a number of occasions when he'd screwed up writer's contracts at his daddy's publishing company. Ladies and gentlemen, James Hunter was in the building, so run for your lives because he thinks he's something special and the world owes his lazy ass something! The funny thing was he obviously had no idea who I was as he continued to talk to his pals.
"The standards in this place seem to have already gone to shit," he announced loudly glancing back at me.
"I mean, look at the state of the bar staff," he jerked his thumb in my direction while his friends guffawed (yeah, I said 'guffawed', bunch of jumped up snobs!).
"Cullen is obviously struggling with this place if he has to employ social rejects," he spat out.
Em looked up at me from his end of the bar, opening his mouth to put James right, but I just gave him a look and shook my head at him. I'd have the last laugh before the night was over.
"Why are we here again James?" Another guy in the group asked.
"Entertainment of sorts and a little game of cat and mouse," he explained cryptically, while the rest of his gang just looked at him confused.
He turned and handed over his credit card, instructing me to open a tab, then turned back to his friends to explain that he wanted to see Newton perform in his band so he could rip him to pieces on Monday morning in the office, and that he'd heard from one of the secretaries at work that 'the hot piece of skirt' that he's had his eye on at work was coming here tonight, and if he gets his way he'd be leaving here with her and 'tapping that' before the night was out. Gee what a charmer folks!
The band had just come on stage and things in the bar were starting to get a bit noisy as they started on their first number, and for a covers group they didn't sound too bad at all in my book. As I handed James' card back to him, he spotted something across the room that made his mouth turn up at the corners into a creepy ass smile, "Send the next round of drinks for the booth by the juke box with my compliments," he ordered.
I nodded in ascent, muttered a quick "yes sir" and moved to the waitress station to prepare the drinks. If frat boy was paying then the girls were getting a decent cocktail out of him. I prepared a pitcher of whatever girly shit they were drinking last time, making sure I used double measures of top shelf spirits and threw in a round of tequila slammers for good measure, while chuckling quietly to myself.
"What's got you in such a good mood Eddie?" grinned Rosalie who was waitressing tonight with the bar being so busy.
"Douchebag at the end of the bar wants to send these drinks to table eight with his compliments," I smirked as I slid the tray over to her. She took one look at James and his band of brothers who were jeering at the band and hurling insults, raised one of her perfectly plucked eyebrows at me as if to say 'WTF?' and took the drink laden tray from me and moved gracefully through the crowd towards its intended recipients. I went back to serving people while thinking that I would love to be a fly on the wall when the girls received their drink to see their reaction, my money was on Little Miss Plastic being his intended prey for the evening.
The band had just started to play, I had a nice little beer buzz going on and was actually beginning to think that I was having a good time, when Angela leaned in to the table and announced in a loud whisper, "Don't look now, but James Hunter just walked in."
Fuck my life! It's bad enough that I have to share the same office space with the creep, why does he have to invade my night out too. "Looks like I'm going to need a shit load more alcohol," I groaned out, while Angela looked at me with sympathetic eyes.
Angela was the only person in our group who knew of the issues I had with James pestering me in the office, so I wasn't surprised when the blonde glamour-puss waitress arrived at our table with a tray full of drinks, courtesy of Creeptastic Hunter and his cronies at the bar. Oh goody! We all expressed our thanks to the waitress who gave us a brilliant smile and told us that the bartender had made sure the cocktail jug was loaded with the good stuff. Jess still had her eyes firmly glued on the stage watching Mike and his band perform a pretty good rendition of Learn To Fly by Foo Fighters, Angela and I just exchanged a quick grimace at the thought of what James might want in return for his 'kind gesture' while Lauren rambled on and on about how generous it was of James, and perhaps he was interested in her, because he always makes time to talk to her in the office, and is always kind and flirty with her. I groaned internally as I knew full well what James was after, but it wasn't something that Lauren had to offer, oh no, it was something he wanted from me that there was no way in hell I was going to give.
I wasn't about to turn down free alcohol though, not a chance. In fact, I think it was the least Mr Hunter owed me after he'd cornered me up against the fridge in the break room this morning, with his face so close to mine I could almost taste his hot, stale coffee breath. "You know Bella, I don't know why you're resisting fate so much. We could be so good together, if only you'd admit what you really feel for me," he murmured while stroking one of his sweaty fingers down the side of my face. I did feel something if I was totally honest, but it was nothing short of revulsion at his sweaty touch and I think I might have thrown up a little bit in my mouth. Thankfully the sound of footsteps in the corridor made him step away from him and I was able to beat a hasty retreat back to my desk. Yes, strong alcohol was definitely the answer to today's problems and those tequila shots were looking mighty fine at this minute.
I was drawn out of my flashback by Lauren loudly rambling on about whether she should go over and personally thank Mr Hunter for his generosity. Her tone was laced with innuendo and she was licking her lips once again. Honestly, this girl has neither shame, nor taste if she thought that James was a prize catch…prize idiot is more like it, but who was I to burst her bubble?
"Ladies, what shall we drink to?" I decided to change the conversation so that we could get back to enjoying the band.
"To hot men!" squealed Lauren as she looked in the direction of the bar, cue eye rolls from the rest of us, because honestly she was like a dog in heat.
"To hot men" we all said before licking salt off our hands, chugging back the shots and then furiously sucking down the lemon juice to quell the after burn. I don't normally drink tequila because it does ugly, ugly things to me, not to mention it gives me selective amnesia, only it's Mr Patron that selects what I'm allowed to remember.
The band were starting to wind their set down, and announced that they would be doing one last number, and I'd bet ten bucks that it would be a slow rock ballad if the rest of their set had been anything to go by. The music had been really enjoyable and the crowd had really gotten into singing along, Right on cue, the opening bars of Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls which brought a wry smile to me lips, this song was one of my all-time favourites. I started to get the feeling that I was being watched, but couldn't figure out whether it was a good kind of being watched, or the creepy kind, so I slowly turned my head to scan around the bar. From the corner of my eye, I could see The Sleaze looking my way with a glint in his eye, and a sinister smirk on his lips. God this guy was really starting to make me feel really uncomfortable. I started to look away, and he lifted his hand up and gave a slow creepy wave which sent a chill down my spine. As I was turning back towards the table I also spotted the hot barman looking in my direction with a scowl, but when he noticed I was looking at him his perfect lips morphed into a beautiful smile. He winked once again and my breath hitched before I whipped my head back to the table.
The final chords of the song played out and the bar erupted in rounds of applause for the guys on stage. Jess was on her feet cheering and whooping as loud as she could. Boy has she got it bad.
As the noise died down she turned and asked "Does anyone want to go talk to the guys from the band? I'd like to congratulate Mike on how well they did."
Lauren scoffed at her "Sorry hun, I'm not going to stand there while you make puppy dog eyes at boy from Accounts. I need another drink and I think I should go thank Mr Hunter personally for our drinks. It doesn't hurt to be friendly with the man who will run the empire one day."
I stifled a giggle at that thought, cause truthfully the only thing he'd run would be the company straight into the ground once Daddy handed it over to him! Angela politely declined and agreed to head off with Jessica to find the band, so that just left me and I was almost ready to call it a night so neither option was that appealing to me at this point.
"Sorry Lauren, I'm going to head out in a minute, it's been a long day and all. "I'll head to the bar with you though so I can grab a bottle of water for my walk home." I said. I was being truthful, but I also wanted to put some distance between me and James. There's only so far that he would go in the confines of the office, but in a public place it was fair game, and I didn't want to be in the middle of his game of cat and mouse.
I said my goodbyes to Angela and Jessica, telling them that I'd really enjoyed my evening and then headed towards the bar with Lauren.
The band was on stage and sounding pretty good. Fair enough they were just a covers band, but they knew what got the crowd going, and that was ultimately good for business as far as Em was concerned. The place was now packed, people were standing three deep at the bar, so Rose had come off the floor in the hopes that we'd keep the crowd happy and nicely topped up on the drinks front, and for the most the atmosphere was really good.
Now that Rose was working the middle section of the bar, I was stuck at the end where James and his obnoxious posse of friends were hanging out. To say that the conversation I was able to overhear was intellectually stimulating and challenging would be a pretty gross exaggeration. So far I'd listened to them discuss whose yacht cost the most, what cars they were bought by their parents for the 16th, 18th and 21st birthdays and which exclusive resorts they would be holidaying at over the summer season. Jesus, I was tempted to suggest that they all whip their dicks out, slap them on the bar and check who had the biggest!
It had given me great joy that they'd been unable to pull the band's performance apart, unfortunately that meant that they had eventually moved on to appraising the women in the bar.
"Have you seen the blonde with the awesome rack behind the bar? I'd love it if she'd take my order." One of them sniggered.
Did they really think that kind of innuendo impressed ladies enough to get them to jump into bed with them. I know that girls find humour a turn on, but please, there needs to be some finesse in the delivery, and some actual charm to back it up. Thankfully, my prayers were answered with this one because Rose had overheard him. She narrowed her eyes at him, then plastered a smile on her face, leaned over the bar and tapped the cheese ball who'd delivered the killer line on the shoulder.
"Honey, trust me, you might think my rack looks awesome, but you'll never get to feel just how truly awesome it is. I'm sure my husband would be more than happy to provide verification for you though." she said sweetly while pointing down the bar towards Emmett who was standing there with a shit eating grin on his face, nodding enthusiastically. She blew the guy a kiss and then walked away shaking her head, while Em just cracked up laughing. My brother may not come across as the smartest guy around (even if he has a Business Administration degree from UDub), but he was smart enough to know that his wife loved him, and that those idiots didn't stand a chance. Secretly I think he liked it because he could get all smug about the fact he was married to a 'real fine, smoking hot piece of ass,' as he so eloquently puts it. Gee, Mom and Dad must be so proud that their boy grew up to be such a gentleman!
As the group erupted into howls of laughter at this guy getting served by Rose, James spoke up, "No, she's too obvious, besides, blondes don't do it for me…I'm much more attracted to petite brunettes with long legs, a tight ass, perky tits and a plump set of lips that will look spectacular when they're wrapped around my cock."
"Any brunette in particular?" asked one of the group, I think he was called Laurent.
"Yeah, there's this chick at work who is just begging for it." He pointed towards the table where BBG and her friends were sitting. "She's been resisting so far, but I reckon before the night is out, she'll be unable to resist my charms. I mean what's not to like, I'm good looking and heir to a publishing empire, which should be more than enough to make her putty in my hands."
So I'd been wrong in my original suspicion of who he had his eye on. That left BBG or the girl she was sitting next to, who was pretty in a librarian kind of way with those wicked horn rimmed style glasses, but nowhere near how Hunter had described his prey. Nope, he was after BBG, there was no mistaking it. I just prayed she had more taste and common sense than to leave with him tonight.
The band wrapped up their set with a great rendition of Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls, a personal favourite of mine, and I moved on to serve another customer. Out of the corner of my eye I saw BBG and her group of friends get up from their table. The librarian look-a-like and their fourth companion headed towards the stage, while the blonde and BBG started walking towards the bar and blondie's eyes were firmly fixed on James and his crew. I didn't hear what was said when she reached them, but my head snapped up when James yelled out, "Hey Bella, are you gonna come join us too?"
He wasn't wrong, BBG was beautiful, but did he really think that slipping a bit of Italian in there would put him onto a winner? Blondie's eyes narrowed at James' words and snapped to where BBG was standing at the bar being served a bottle of water by Rose.
"No thanks James, I'm heading home I'm afraid," she replied, as he started sauntering over to where she was standing.
"Awwww, come on beautiful, you need to come and thank me properly for the drinks I bought you and your girlfriends earlier," he bounced back with a filthy smirk while catching hold of her wrist as she tried to walk away. Yeah buddy, we all know what kind of thanking you are expecting and trust me, this chick has more class in her little finger than you will ever have.
"Sorry but no, I really am tired and I want to go home," she said quietly while trying to pull herself free from his grip.
He really didn't seem to want to take 'no' for an answer, which didn't surprise me knowing his reputation and what I'd heard.
"Well sweetheart, how about we head back to your place and continue with a little 'party a deux' if you know what I mean," he drawled. BBG looked like she was going to be sick as she squirmed to get away, so deciding enough was enough, I walked up to where they were standing and slammed my hand down on the bar.
Both of them looked up at me in surprise, then a look of relief washed over her beautiful face as I turned to James and snarled, "Sir, I think you need to listen to the lady. If she said no, then accept it and walk away." James glared at me while BBG gave me a small smile of thanks as he released her arm. I smiled back at her before she turned and walked away towards the bathrooms. Once she'd gone he headed back towards his group of friends, but stopped halfway and turned to me, his tone laced with venom, "I wouldn't try wasting your time on that one, she's nothing but a tease. Besides, the bitch will be mine before the night is over."
Something about what he said bothered me, like the poor woman didn't have a choice and he would just take what he wanted. If one thing Esme Cullen drilled into her boys was that you were nothing if not a perfect gentleman to a lady, whether you were spending one night, or offering to spend your whole life with them. Anything less was just unacceptable, and despite my preference for the one night option, I couldn't agree with her more. If a chick said no, she meant no, and you just had to accept it, just like they should accept it if a guy said no to them.
I was due a break, so I decided I would try to catch her before she left the bar to make sure she was okay, and perhaps suggest taking a taxi home after what James had shared with me. I just hoped she hadn't already left the building yet.
So there you go, we're off and rolling with this being a multi-chapter story. Chapter 2 will be posted shortly and feedback is always gratefully received.
Thanks for reading guys.